23 Mar 2011
The Muslim Council of Britain’s second annual Muslim Leadership Dinner was attended by leading figures from the world of media, politics, civil society, business and the community leaders from across the UK. The key theme of the evening was Muslim engagement with the world of Media and celebrating Muslim achievements.
Farooq Murad, Secretary General of the MCB, addressed the audience in his opening speech, “Muslims are slowly but surely marching forward to play their part as full members of the society. The Muslim Leadership Dinner today aims to celebrate this journey from a state of powerlessness towards a confident, self-assured and forward-looking community ready to contribute its fair share towards building a better and prosperous society for all”.
Speaking of media engagement he said, “It is our wish to provide an opportunity to both the media and the community to be together and try to understand and empathise with each others position.. not just criticize but also applaud positive coverage”.
Mehdi Hassan, Senior Political Editor of the New Statesman, spoke of the disturbing reality of society being immune to the negative portrayal of Muslims and Islam in the sections of British media, “My profession, the media, which is driving much of this anti Muslim sentiment. It’s the media which churns out Islamophobic headlines, editorials, stories, columns, imagery. We Muslims have made huge advancements in terms of our integration. This is an age of pluralism not tribalism”. He went on to commend the humanitarian efforts carried out by Muslim charities regardless of faith, highlighting their recent work in Japan and Haiti.
Peter Oborne, Chief Political Commentator for the Telegraph, stressed, “It is our duty as journalists to speak up about the British values of truth, decency and tolerance. However, those values have been affronted, lies are told about Muslims, particularly in British newspaper”. He went on to say, “Fleet Street and the newspapers and where I come from and what the public could do is to try and examine the language we’re using”. He emphasised the urgent need for all of us to challenge such misrepresentations, and to actively welcome positive contributions across the media.
The Rt Hon Simon Hughes MP stated in his address, “Certainly you have been a community that has been there for others You have been here with your families, many for generations and Britain is richer for it. You should not be fearful of the past, work with the present and be optimistic of the future”.
The evening saw just some of the contributions to civil society made by upcoming young Muslims and their inspiration rooted in British and Islamic values.
The event was supported by Islamic Relief, the British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce as well as Human Appeal International.
Notes to Editors:
1. The Muslim Council of Britain is the Uk’s largest Muslim umbrella body with around 500 affiliated national, regional and local organisations, mosques, charities and schools.
2. Islamic Relief (IR) is an international relief and development charity founded in 1984. It is an independent Non-Governmental Organisation working in over 25 countries, promoting sustainable economic and social development by working with local communities to eradicate poverty, illiteracy and disease. IR also responds to disasters and emergencies. www.islamicrelief.com
3. The British Institute of Technology & E-commerce (BITE) is a catalyst organisation, bringing together talent, industry and government. It seeks to advance and apply this expertise through research, consultancy and education in the pioneering of technology, science and business. www.bite.ac.uk
4. Human Appeal International (HAI) has been working for 19 years providing better lives and a brighter future for those in most need around the world. HAI is actively improving the quality of life and fulfilling the vital needs of suffering people specifically through education, health, income generation and family life. www.humanappeal.org.uk[ENDS]